Why is rawhide bad for dogs?

Why is rawhide bad for dogs?

Apr 18, 2023Muhammad Usman

Rawhide has been a popular dog treat for many years, but there are growing concerns about its potential risks. Discover why rawhide is bad for dogs and learn about alternative, safer chew toys and treats that can promote a healthier and happier life for your furry friend.

At FoodiePaws, we understand that as a pet owner, you always want to provide the best for your furry friend. Our goal is to foster a healthier and more loving relationship between you and your dog. 

Therefore, it's crucial to be mindful of what you feed your dog, particularly when it comes to treats.

Rawhide has been one of the famous dog treats in the market for a long time. 

It has been a popular dog treat for decades due to its durability and the fact that it satisfies a dog's natural urge to chew. 

However, there has been growing concern recently among dog owners and veterinarians about the potential risks associated with rawhide.

In this article, we'll explore the pros and cons of rawhide chews and help you make an informed decision about whether or not they're right for your pup.

table of contents why not rawhides for dogs

What is Rawhide?

No doubt Rawhide chews are a popular choice for many pet owners, but at some corner of their mind they have these questions: Is rawhide bad for dogs? If yes, then why does Rawhide chew bad for dogs?

To understand this we should understand completely what actually is rawhide?

Rawhide is basically made from the processed inner layer of animal hides, usually from cattles. It is first cleaned and then treated with chemicals to remove the hair and flesh. 

After treatment these hides are then stretched, cut into various shapes, and dried to form a chewy and durable texture that your dog enjoys.

How is Rawhide made?

The steps involved in making rawhide are as below:

Preparing the hides:

The first step in making a rawhide is to prepare the hides from cattle by removing any hair or flesh and cleaning them thoroughly. 

Instantly after getting the hide from the animal it is dipped in high-salt brines that reduces its decaying process.

To keep them fresh while transporting, the hides are sent in a cold container to the factory. In the factory, they are soaked in a solution of water and either lime or sodium sulfide. This helps to remove any remaining flesh, hair, or fat and also softens the hide.

Soaking the hides: 

After preparing the skin, it goes for sterilization with hydrogen peroxide. This is to make sure all the germs and bacteria are gone completely. This process also makes the hide tissue look a white-yellow color that's easy to recognize in the final product.

Cutting the hides:

Once the hides are sterilized, they are cut into strips or shapes of various sizes, depending on the intended use. Special automated elective cutters and knives are used to shape them.

Stretching and drying:

After transforming into the desired shapes, the sterilized hides are stretched or dried in a controlled temperature to remove any remaining moisture. This is the process where rawhide becomes hard and chewy.

Adding Flavors:

This is the step under fire for many reasons regarding the quality of rawhide chews.

Some manufacturers add additional treatments to the rawhide for stuffing and flavoring. They may also add preservatives, to make it more appealing to dogs or to extend its shelf life. These chemicals for stuffing and perseverance are not at all good for your dogs.

Packaging and shipping:

Finally, the rawhide is packaged and shipped to pet stores and other retailers for sale to consumers.

Now that you know how rawhide chews are made, we can take the next step and delve into why rawhide may not be a good choice as a treat for your dog. In order to answer this question, we will discuss all of its drawbacks.

Why is rawhide bad for dogs?

One thing you must keep in mind is that Rawhide is not necessarily bad for all dogs, but it can be problematic in certain situations. 


There are several reasons why rawhide chews may not be the best choice for every dog:

Digestive issues:

As all dogs are not the same, so is their digesting capabilities and their chews. But according to a famous Vet, Rawhides are difficult to digest even for bigger dogs. 

Rawhide is difficult to digest and can swell in the stomach, leading to blockages or other gastrointestinal issues

Therefore it can cause blockages or other digestive issues in some dogs if they swallow its broken parts or chunks. It will not digest in their stomach like their other food. It is even more dangerous for dogs with sensitive stomachs or who are prone to swallowing large pieces of the chew.

For example, a dog who has a history of digestive issues or who tends to swallow large pieces of food or toys may be more prone to experiencing problems with rawhide chews. 

That's why in some cases, dogs may even need surgery to remove a blockage caused by rawhide.

Choking hazard:

As with digestive issues, rawhide chews can also pose a choking hazard for dogs.

If a dog chews off a large piece of rawhide or swallows a small piece whole, it can become lodged in their throat or digestive tract, leading to serious health complications. 

This can be particularly dangerous for small dogs or those who are aggressive chewers.

Chemicals and additives:

Many rawhide chews contain chemicals and additives that can be harmful to dogs. These can include preservatives, dyes, and other synthetic ingredients that may cause allergic reactions or other health issues.

And a dog with allergies or sensitivities may react negatively to the chemicals and additives commonly found in some types of rawhide chews.

That being said, it's important to remember that every dog is different and may have different needs and preferences when it comes to chews and treats. Therefore we recommend to monitor your dog closely while they are chewing on any type of treat, including rawhide, and to consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns about their safety or nutritional value. 

So while rawhide chews can offer some benefits for dogs, they are also potentially dangerous and should be considered before giving them to your furry friend. 

In the next section, we'll explore some of the best alternatives to consider.

Alternatives to Rawhide Chews

While rawhide chews can be a popular choice for many dog owners, they are not always the best option for every dog. 

Fortunately, there are many alternatives to rawhide chews that can provide similar benefits without the potential risks. Here are some examples of alternative chews that you may want to consider:

Bully Sticks:

Bully sticks are made from the pizzle (or penis) of a bull or steer, and are a natural, high-protein chew that many dogs enjoy. They are generally easier to digest than rawhide chews, and are less likely to cause choking or digestive issues.

4" Standard Bully Sticks - All Natural Premium Grade, Odor Free 8oz


Antlers are another natural, long-lasting chew that many dogs enjoy. They are high in protein and minerals, and can help to clean teeth and promote healthy chewing habits.

However, they can be quite hard and may not be suitable for all dogs.

Dental Chews:

There are many types of dental chews on the market that are designed to help clean teeth and freshen breath.

These chews are typically made with natural ingredients, and can be a great alternative to rawhide chews for dogs who need a little extra help with their dental hygiene.

Jerky Treats:

Many dogs love the taste and texture of jerky treats, which can be made from a variety of meats such as chicken, beef, or turkey.

Look for jerky treats that are made with high-quality ingredients and avoid those that contain additives or preservatives.

Natural Chews:

Finally, there are many types of natural chews that can provide a satisfying chewing experience for dogs, without the potential risks of rawhide chews.

These can include things like dried sweet potato, dried fish skins, or even raw bones (though it's important to be cautious with raw bones, as they can pose a choking hazard if not used properly).

Ultimately, the best alternative to rawhide chews will depend on your dog's individual needs and preferences. Some dogs may prefer a softer chew like a bully stick, while others may enjoy the challenge of a hard antler. 

It's important to choose chews that are appropriate for your dog's size and chewing style, and to always monitor them closely while they are chewing on any type of treat. 

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

Throughout this article, we have discussed why rawhide is bad for dogs due to some potential risks associated with giving rawhide chews to dogs. 

Overall, rawhide chews can pose a risk of choking, digestive issues, and exposure to harmful chemicals. 

As we have also discussed how rawhide chews are made, which involves a complex process that can include the use of chemicals and preservatives, it is obvious that rawhides are not healthy for dogs.

Moreover, to address these concerns, we have offered a variety of alternatives to rawhide chews that can provide similar benefits without the potential risks to your furry friend. These alternatives include bully sticks, antlers, dental chews, jerky treats, and natural chews.

So when it comes to choosing chews and treats for your dog, it's important to prioritize their health and safety. This means doing your research, consulting with your veterinarian, and choosing high-quality products that are made with natural ingredients and free from harmful chemicals and additives.

Plus it's also important to monitor your dog's chewing habits and supervise them while they are enjoying any type of treat or chew. This can help to prevent choking and other potential hazards.

We encourage our readers to take an active role in their dog's health and wellness. This means providing them with plenty of exercise, a healthy diet, and safe and healthy treats and chews. By doing so, you can help to ensure that your dog lives a happy, healthy, and active life.

We also suggest that they consider using natural and organic treats whenever possible, and to choose products from reputable brands that prioritize quality and safety.

Overall, by being informed and proactive about your dog's health and wellness, you can help to ensure that they live a happy and healthy life.

6" Jumbo Bully Sticks - All Natural Premium Grade, Odor Free